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Rebecca Lozano

Adjusting from Military Life to College Life

Going to college is hard for everyone. Having to deal with roommates, harder classes, money, and all things in between was quite the adjustment. People always said “It’s nice to go home on the weekends, if you can, and just spend time with your friends you have known since Pre-K, right”, but I couldn’t relate. Of course, I had my family, but that’s really all I’ve ever known. My dad was in the Marine Corps, and that meant moving every three years, going to a new school, and making new friends. What never changed, was always having my family to come home to. When I came to college, it was no different than moving like I had been my whole life. Except, when I had a hard day at school I came home to an empty room and ugly white brick walls. 

Personal family photo
Rebecca Lozano


Now for some background information. I was born in Okinawa, Japan on the now non-existent Camp Lester, and little did I know how hectic my life was going to be. It was just my parents, my older brother, Aaron, and me. Being away from our extended family for long periods of time made us a close-knit family that went on adventures together. Just to skip to the good stuff, since I was born I have lived in: Okinawa, Japan, Oceanside, California, San Antonio, Texas, Norfolk, Virginia, Beaufort, South Carolina (Where my dad retired), Chandler, Arizona, back to San Antonio, Texas, and now College Station. By the time I was ten, I had already attended 5 different schools. While my parents and I were on our next move to Beaufort, South Carolina, and Aaron just graduated, decided to attend the furthest school possible from his favorite sister, Arizona State University. How rude right? But it’s okay, he is a big fancy engineer now.

Throughout middle school and high school, it was just my parents and I. Of course, I love my parents, and I am extremely grateful for all they have given me, but I realized about a few days ago, that the reason I had a hard time moving away was because they loved me too much. In high school, I was in band. My parents were a part of the band boosters all four years, so they were at every contest, every practice, and every banquet. My parents were basically a part of the band as well. During concert season, I was in winter guard, and my parents were at every contest cheering for me, as well as my mom cooking my team a different dessert every contest.

So long story short, everywhere I went my parents were always there. See why I am a little attached? Now I am the type of child, to this day, 19 years old, to still jump on my mom’s bed in the morning and watch Beverly Hills 90210 all day. If my parents are both sitting on the couch, I will squeeze my way in and snuggle up in between both of them. I am not embarrassed to say it but, I am EXTREMELY attached to my parents because they were always there for me. Being in a military family taught me that, yeah having to start over every three years blows, but my parents did everything they could to make our lives a bit easier, and that no matter what happens you will always have your family to fall back on. Now came the day I had actually been dreading; leaving for college.

I felt as if moving every three years of my life had prepared me for the time to move to wherever I decided to go to college, but I had to face it alone. Now note, I am a little dramatic. College Station is only three hours away from San Antonio. I didn’t have a car, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have many friends at A&M, and I honestly thought that the next time I was going to see my parents was Thanksgiving Break. Three months after school started. I had never really been away from my parents, besides a few school trips. So college was it, it was the time to actually face the world without my parents behind me, and let’s just say I was NOT prepared. Now my parents and my boyfriend of three years had come down to move me in, and I was secretly trying to stall with anything I could so I could have more time with them. Once the time came to say goodbye, it was hard. My roommate was my high school band friend, so I knew one person, but I was hysterical over the fact that my life was about to completely change. My parents have literally been with me every step of my life, every new school, every new house, and every holiday. They were always there. With everything constantly changing in the military life we were in, the one thing that was my constant were my parents. I had no lifetime best friend that I could confide with because every time I created friendships, either they moved away or we did.

I will say though, I was a little spoiled from the military life. I always had my own room, I lived in secure areas, and school was easy because they knew how hectic our lives were. I was not prepared to share a room or a bathroom, and I simply did not know how to live in such close proximity with other people. I will admit, I am also a slight germaphobe so I hated the idea of sharing a room with someone who I had never lived with before. Now don’t worry there were positives from coming to college with a military child background, I didn’t have to adjust to being in a new town, I was used to having to make new friends all over again, and I was used to the fresh new start. I believe that the continuous goodbyes I was so used to in the military life taught me to cherish any relationship I create, so I feel it is important for me to uphold optimism in any friendship I have because goodbye can come at any minute.

Now while my dad retired in 2014, the military lifestyle remains instilled in him. He wakes up early to work out, eat, and is ready for the day at 8 a.m. When school actually started, I didn’t have Reveille (not the Queen of Aggieland) to wake me up in the morning, and I didn’t smell the breakfast my dad made at “06:00” before he went to work. Nor did I have the chaos of us all trying to get to school or work on time. It was just me, myself, and I eating cereal alone at my desk before my 8 am lecture. Life outside of the dorm was a little tough, because everyone did not have the same life that I was used to. 5 years ago, when I started a new school, the little girl who sat next to me had also just moved there, maybe from Alaska, and the little boy across from us had just moved from Romania. But at A&M, the girl who sat next to me was born and raised in Austin, and the boy in my group project was born and raised here in College Station. At the same time, I was prepared to meet new people and learn their stories, as well as get involved in things I did not have the opportunity to before.

College is similar to military life in a few ways, there are so many ways to get involved on campus or off-campus, or on base and off base — as I’m used to saying. Involvement is the key to keeping yourself social and busy throughout the hectic lifestyle, and I would 100% recommend it. My number one tip for anyone struggling to adapt to college life is to get involved. There is a place for everyone to fit in, and getting involved opens so many opportunities for the future. It is always tough when I get the “Where are you from?” question, 9 times out of 10 I will say, San Antonio, unless I tell the full story. I don’t associate myself with any state or city. My mom’s side of the family is from California while my dad’s side of the family is from Texas, but to me home is wherever my parents are.

Howdy! My name is Mariaelena Lozano, I'm from San Antonio, and I am a Telecommunications Media Studies major with a minor in New Media Art! I absolutely love dogs, Harry Styles runs my life and I love watching almost any bad reality show. :)
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